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Banned Words in China & OSINT

Image credit: (State Dept./D. Thompson)

Censorship and control never weakens, on the contrary it becomes stricter every day, with new policies, new technologies and with over 800 million internet users, China has one of the most socially aware and active online populations in the world. However, what Chinese citizens see is restricted and controlled due to the Chinese government's harsh internet censorship.

The Chinese Communist Party employs "tens of thousands of individuals at the national, provincial, and local levels to monitor digital communications and online content," according to the State Department's Human Rights Report. Personal letters, phone calls, social media postings, and internet news and advertising are all part of the monitoring process and much more.

The Importance of Banned Words

  • When we think from the investigator point of view, banned words can point to topics and issues that a government or organization deems sensitive or controversial. This allows you to focus on areas of interest and potential security threats.

  • Certain banned words are associated with different types of movements, human rights activism, or protests. Monitoring these words helps you to track these activities.

  • Banned words often revolve around political leaders, ideologies, and government policies. Understanding what words are censored can help yourself to understand the political climate and sensitivities of a particular region or domain. Now, let's explore a 0.01% of such words out there on the Chinese internet

Winnie the Pooh (小熊维尼) — Chinese internet users use images of Winnie the Pooh to represent President Xi J.

Baozi (包子) or..Xi包子— Steamed bun. One of Xi J's nicknames online after he had some steamed buns.

Go, Hong Kong (香港加油) — Support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

709 (709律师) — A group of human rights activists and lawyers arrested on July 9 (7/9), 2015.

Dictatorship (专政) — Suggesting or saying that China is a dictatorship is forbidden.

Just like these words, we explore how to understand context in a whole bunch of Chinese text, how to find the right keywords in Chinese, how to save time during investigations and avoid false positives like a pro. And not rely on translators only like the majority of Western investigators attempting to explore China. A lot of critical skills besides research and out of the box thinking.

Want to learn the advanced stuff? Where to search, How to search like a local, find anything and anyone?

---- What makes COSINTI course unique is that today it is the only Chinese OSINT course in the market that covers a wide range of topics, blends in unconventional information gathering methods inside China's ecosystem and gives you all the know how to search like the local while truly breaking all the barriers. ---

Latest video about understanding context in Chinese using emojis,pinyin,text,memes, and internet slang, finding the right keywords for your research to be successful. Can be found on our YT channel :

We usually keep our posts very focused on the topic but I'd really love to end this short post with a very fitting "meme" we received, it's just to the point for this post!


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